Rudy Giuliani surrendered to authorities in Georgia on Wednesday, on charges alleging he acted as former US president Donald Trump’s chief co-conspirator in a plot to subvert the 2020 election.
The former New York City mayor, celebrated as “America’s mayor” for his leadership after 9/11, is charged with Trump and 17 other people under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act.
His bail has been set at 150,000 dollars (£118,000), second only to Trump’s 200,000 dollars (£157,000)
Prison records showed he was booked on Wednesday afternoon.
Giuliani, 79, is accused of spearheading Trump’s efforts to compel state lawmakers in Georgia and other closely contested states to ignore the will of voters and illegally appoint electoral college electors favourable to Trump.
Other high-profile defendants also surrendered on Wednesday, including Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who prosecutors say was involved in efforts to convince state lawmakers to unlawfully appoint presidential electors, and lawyer Sidney Powell, accused of making false statements about the election in Georgia and helping to organise a breach of voting equipment in rural Coffee County.
Georgia was one of several key states Trump lost by slim margins, prompting the Republican and his allies to proclaim, without evidence, that the election was rigged in favour of his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Giuliani is charged with making false statements and soliciting false testimony, conspiring to create phony paperwork and asking state lawmakers to violate their oath of office to appoint an alternate slate of pro-Trump electors.
Outside the Fulton County jail on Wednesday, Giuliani laughed when asked if he regretted allying himself with Trump.
“I am very, very honoured to be involved in this case because this case is a fight for our way of life,” he told reporters.
“This indictment is a travesty. It’s an attack on not just me, not just president Trump, not just the people in this indictment, some of whom I don’t even know – this is an attack on the American people.”
Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis has said that, if convicted, Giuliani will be sentenced to prison.
Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, saying he had a right to raise questions about what he believed to be election fraud.
He has called the indictment “an affront to American democracy” and an “out and out assault on the First Amendment”.
“I’m feeling very, very good about it because I feel like I am defending the rights of all Americans, as I did so many times as a United States attorney,” Giuliani told reporters as he left his apartment in New York on Wednesday.
He said he is “fighting for justice” and has been since he first started representing Trump.
Trump, the early front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has said he plans to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail on Thursday.
He and his allies have characterised the investigation as politically motivated.
Giuliani criticised the indictment of lawyers beside himself who had worked for Trump and said the justice system was being politicised.
He also highlighted the fact that some of the people indicted are not household names.
“Donald Trump told you this, they weren’t just coming for him or me,” Giuliani said.
“Now they’ve indicted people in this case I don’t even know who they are. These are just regular people making a normal living.”